Analysts at Credit Suisse said the final gainful employment regulations eased more than expected, but the firm maintained that significant earnings risks in 2012 and 2013 persist.

It tapped Education Management, ITT Educational, Corinthian Colleges and Lincoln Educational ( LINC) as the education providers likely to benefit the most from the final ruling. The group still holds risks, however, namely from student start declines, lower enrollment because of the negative impact of incentive compensation, rising competition and other headwinds.

Piper Jaffray analysts said the final ruling was less threatening than originally expected, and generally positive for stocks in the sector.

The firm tapped Bridgepoint Education ( BPI) and Grand Canyon ( LOPE) as its top sector stock picks.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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